North Carolina Highway 147

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NC 147 marker

NC 147
Route information
Maintained by NCDOT
Length: 15.7 mi[1] (25.3 km)
Existed: 1987 – present
Major junctions
South end: NC 540 in Morrisville
  I‑40 near Durham
US 15 / US 501 in Durham
North end: I‑85 in Durham
Counties: Wake, Durham
Highway system
NC 146 NC 148

North Carolina Highway 147 (NC 147) is a North Carolina state highway. The route connects the Research Triangle Park to both Western Wake County and the city of Durham.

Route description[edit]

The route's entire length is a limited access freeway; linking NC 540 in Morrisville with the Research Triangle Park (RTP), Downtown Durham and Interstates 40 and 85. It is a fairly urbanized commuter-route and suffers from peak-traffic during conventional rush hours. Speed limits on the freeway range from 55 mph (89 km/h) to 65 mph (105 km/h).

From NC 540 to Interstate 40, the highway is a toll road, part of the Triangle Expressway. Tolling on this stretch of NC 147 began on January 3, 2012.[2][3]

Its northern terminus with Interstate 85 is a partial interchange, where northbound NC 147 merges onto southbound I-85 and vice-versa. Travelers wanting to go north on I-85 and vice-versa must utilize the nearby U.S. 15-501 freeway.

Alternate names[edit]

Though the highway is commonly known as "NC 147" or "147" throughout the state, the highway does have other known names it uses locally in areas.

  • Buck Dean Expressway – official name of NC 147 within the city limits of Durham (approved: December 14, 1984).[4]
  • Durham Freeway – name given by NCDOT to NC 147 north of I-40 through Durham to its northern terminus at Interstate 85.
  • East–West Expressway – original name of NC 147 within the city limits of Durham; it was renamed to Buck Dean Expressway.[4]
  • Triangle Expressway – official name of the toll section of NC 147, overlaps with Triangle Parkway.
  • Triangle Parkway – name given by NCDOT to the section between NC 540 to I-40.


Northbound on Toll NC 147
First toll rates, from northbound NC 540 onto NC 147

The Triangle Expressway is an all electronic toll collection (ETC) and camera enforced toll road. There are three gantry locations along NC 147, all located on entrance/exit ramps. Those that do not participate in the ETC program will receive a bill in the mail and will have 30 days from date on bill before additional fees and civil penalties are applied.[5]

NC Quick Pass, E-ZPass, SunPass and Peach Pass are accepted on the Triangle Expressway.

Toll rates[edit]

Tolls are $0.15 per mile with NC Quick Pass or $0.24 per mile for non-NC Quick Pass drivers.[6][7]

Toll rates, as of January 2, 2013.[8]

Gantry Location Axles NC Quick Pass Bill by mail
NC 540 (Triangle Expressway) South Ramps
Northbound entrance/southbound exit
2 axles $0.82 $1.25
3 axles $1.64 $2.50
4+ axles $3.28 $5.00
NC 540 (Raleigh) North Ramps
Northbound entrance/southbound exit
2 axles $0.65 $1.00
3 axles $1.30 $2.00
4+ axles $2.60 $4.00
Hopson Road/Davis Drive Ramps
Northbound entrance/southbound exit
2 axles $0.30 $0.45
3 axles $0.60 $0.90
4+ axles $1.20 $1.80


The Durham Freeway began with a 1962 bond referendum.[9] The first section of the road, completed in 1970 around downtown Durham, was designated Interstate 40.[citation needed] The original section extended from Chapel Hill Street to Alston Avenue and resulted in the destruction of a portion of the Hayti neighborhood as part of urban renewal,[10] though a DOT engineer said the neighborhood likely would have been torn down anyway. The road was later extended west to Erwin Road and southward to where it now meets the current I-40, but the decision was made for I-40 to bypass Durham. The section inside the city was renamed. The road's other names have included East-West Expressway and the I.L. "Buck" Dean Freeway.[9]

In 1979, planners said many of the city's roads needed widening, and the decision was made to extend the freeway to I-85. The first section in 1982 disrupted the Crest Street neighborhood, but the N.C. DOT moved 181 houses instead of tearing them down, an action that resulted in a 1987 third-place Federal Highway Administration award for "historic preservation and cultural enhancement".[9] Eventually, the problems that caused the original I-40 extension to I-85 to be delayed were overcome, and NC 147 was extended through the city.[citation needed] Work began in 1993, and the eastbound lanes opened May 21, 1997.[11] The section connecting the road to I-85 opened July 31, 1998.[10]

On September 6, 2011, the south termini at T.W. Alexander Drive (exit 4) was permanently closed to make way for NC 147's extension to NC 540 in Morrisville; this made I-40 the temporary southern termini for three months. On December 8, 2011, the southern extension was opened. Dubbed the Triangle Parkway, the 3.4-mile (5.5 km) stretch of road is also part of the Triangle Expressway.[2][3][12][13]


There are two future projects involving NC 147. The first is the East End Connector (Currently in planning and environmental study).[14] That project was set to start construction in 2010, but was delayed until after 2012.[15] The second is the NC 147 extension to McCrimmon Parkway, in Morrisville, which is scheduled for Reprioritization.[16][17]

Junction list[edit]

County Location Mile[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
Wake Morrisville McCrimmon Parkway Proposed extension (unfunded)[16][17]
1.5 2.4 1
NC 540 Toll to I‑40 to I‑540 to US 1 – Raleigh, Sanford
Southbound exit left; Triangle Expressway continues NC 540 south
Durham   2.5 4.0 2 / 3 Davis Drive / Hopson Road Signed exit 2 northbound, exit 3 southbound
  4 T.W. Alexander Drive Permanently closed as of September 6, 2011[12][13]
  4.5 7.2 5 I‑40 to NC 54 – Raleigh, Chapel Hill Triangle Expressway begins; signed as exit 5A (east) and 5B (west)
  5.5 8.9 6 Cornwallis Road  – Research Triangle Park
  6.5 10.5 7 T.W. Alexander Drive
  7.5 12.1 8 Ellis Road
Durham 9 I‑885 north to I‑85 to US 70 – Henderson, Greensboro, Petersburg Proposed East End Connector (Currently in planning and environmental study)[14][18]
10.5 16.9 10 Briggs Avenue  – Durham Technical Community College
11.3 18.2 11 NC 55 (Alston Avenue)
11.8 19.0 12A Fayetteville Street  – North Carolina Central University
12.0 19.3 12B
US 15 Bus. / US 501 Bus. (Mangum Street/Roxboro Street) – Downtown
To Durham Bulls Athletic Park
12.6 20.3 12C Duke Street No southbound exit; To North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
13.0 20.9 13 Chapel Hill Street
13.7 22.0 14
To US 70 Bus. / Swift Avenue – Duke University East Campus
To North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and Northgate Mall
14.3 23.0 15A Elba Street / Trent Drive Northbound exit, southbound entrance; to Duke Medical Center
14.8 23.8 15B Hillandale Road / Fulton Street To Veterans Affairs Medical Center
15.7 25.3 16 US 15 / US 501 to I‑85 north – Chapel Hill, Duke University West Campus Signed as exits 16A (north) and 16B (south)
17.2 27.7 I‑85 south – Greensboro Northbound exit, southbound entrance
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Interstate 885[edit]

Interstate 885
Location: Durham, North Carolina

Interstate 885 (I-885) is the proposed designation traversing between I-40 and I-85/US 15, in Durham and the RTP area. Its appearance was released on August 19, 2014 when the October project letting was released, which included I-885 in the sign plans. NCDOT also listed in the documentation that fabrication of the signs cannot proceed until approval of the route is completed via FHWA; thus this routing is, for now, a proposal.[14][18]

If approved and designated, the interstate would begin at the I-40/NC 147 interchange (exit 279) then go north in concurrency with NC 147 to the East End Connector, where it will switch to US 70. Continuing north in concurrency with US 70, it ends at the I-85/US 15/US 70 interchange (exit 178). The existing exit numbers now on NC 147 and US 70 would be replaced by I-885.

No official request has been submitted to AASHTO or FHWA; this route is currently proposed by NCDOT and is subject to change. The East End Connector is slated to be completed by July, 2019.[19]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Google Inc. "North Carolina Highway 147". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,-78.875656&spn=0.232647,0.445976&sll=36.031818,-78.963042&sspn=0.007262,0.013937&geocode=FdIkIwIdTqtM-w%3BFQrYJQIdYxBL-w&mra=dme&mrsp=1&sz=17&t=p&z=12. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "North Carolina Turnpike Authority: Triangle Expressway". Retrieved 2011-12-08. 
  3. ^ a b "State's first modern toll road opens today". December 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-08. 
  4. ^ a b "North Carolina Memorial Highways and other Named Facilities". Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  5. ^ "NC Quick Pass FAQ's". North Carolina Turnpike Authority. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Toll Rate for Triangle Expressway Set". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: WUNC-FM. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  7. ^ Mildwurf, Bruce (March 3, 2011). "Toll road to cost 15 to 24 cents a mile to drive". Raleigh, NC: WRAL-TV. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Triangle Expressway: Toll Rates" (PDF). North Carolina Turnpike Authority. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c Bloom, Jonathan (July 26, 1998). "30-year, 12-mile project completed". The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC). p. A1. 
  10. ^ a b Bloom, Jonathan (August 1, 1998). "Durham Freeway's last leg opens". The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC). p. A8. 
  11. ^ "Durham Freeway's new lanes to ease eastbound travel". The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC). May 21, 1997. p. C1. 
  12. ^ a b "SECTION OF N.C. 147 IN DURHAM TO CLOSE SEPT. 6". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  13. ^ a b "Crosstown Traffic - RTP commuters: The NC 147 southern spur is closed today, for good". September 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  14. ^ a b c "East End Connector". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  15. ^ Siceloff, Bruce (March 27, 2005). "Road plan imperils Triangle projects". The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. A1. 
  16. ^ a b Staff. "Project #U-4763". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Staff. "Project #U-4763A". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "Signing Plan, Durham County, T.I.P.: U-0071". North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  19. ^ Siceloff, Bruce (September 8, 2014). "Road Worrier: Durham's East End Connector spawns an 8-mile interstate". Raleigh, NC: The News & Observer. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 

External links[edit]